Improvements Needed in U.S. Education Topic of National Education Summit

More than 100 national education and corporate leaders will be convening at The University of Texas at Austin Dec. 6-8 to discuss sweeping improvements to K-12 education and develop recommendations for a new model of teacher education.

The invitational summit is hosted by the College of Education's Learning Technology Center and will be held at the ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center at The University of Texas at Austin. It is made possible by a gift from Promethean, makers of ActivBoard interactive whiteboards.

The summit's focus will be on preparing a future workforce for a global, technology-based society, which requires describing:

  • Key characteristics of effective teachers for digital age learners.
  • Critical elements of teacher education programs that will produce teachers with those characteristics.
  • Barriers that prevent such programs from being implemented.
  • Policy and action recommendations that will eliminate the barriers and accelerate creation of a new model for teacher education.

"The most well-known and key national education stakeholders are attending the summit, including representatives from local, state and national education agencies, as well as state and federal lawmakers," said Dr. Paul Resta, summit organizer and director of the Learning Technology Center. "We are also honored to have a distinguished steering committee of education policy and technology experts who designed the summit's format and agenda."

Resta and Tom Carroll, president of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, are summit co-chairs.

Participants in the summit will contribute to a series of working sessions to generate a shared vision of what teacher education should look like and identify barriers that stand in the way of achieving that vision. A lineup of dynamic speakers will establish context for each session.

Featured speakers at the summit include top leaders in national education policy, including:

  • Tom Carroll, president of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future
  • Jim Cibulka, president of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Chris Dede, the Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University
  • Stephen Jury, vice chairman of Education Strategy at Promethean
  • Gerald Knezek, professor of learning technologies, University of North Texas and president of the Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education
  • Barbara Means, director of the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International
  • Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning
  • Mariana Patru, UNESCO Division of Higher Education

Participants will develop recommendations for education policy and change at the institutional, state and national level to transform teacher workforce development. The recommendations will capitalize on new trends such as the digital technology skills of today's young teachers, continuous training and evolution of skills, and alternative pathways to teaching.

A report on the recommendations will be presented at a Congressional reception in Washington, D.C., and shared with education policymakers and leaders around the country.

Anyone interested in following the proceedings can go to the Redefining Teacher Education for Digital Age Learners Web site, where several presentations will be webcast live. Videos of the presentations will be available after the summit. An online forum will be active Dec. 9-13, and presenters will be available to answer questions and participate in discussions on summit topics.

The summit agenda and presenter biographies are also online. For more information, contact Ken Tothero.